How to enjoy good cognitive health in retirement

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Aging is a natural part of life and as we age we accept and prepare for changes. We prepare our finances for retirement but may spend less energy on preparing our bodies and minds.  Here is a very important tip on how to enjoy good cognitive health in retirement.

Cognitive aging is the changes in brain functioning that we all experience over time.

Most of us assume that if we want to stay as cognitively fit as possible we should keep our minds as active as possible.  To many of us that means learning new things, staying social, doing word or math puzzles and so on.

If you consider those activities closely, you may notice that they are mainly sedentary activities.

Research reveals that our assumptions are only half correct.  Yes, its important to keep socially and intellectually stimulated to keep our brains fit.

However, the most important thing to do if you want to enjoy good cognitive health in retirement is to do regular aerobic exercise.  This is the factor  of that will have the most positive effect on cognitive aging.

How to enjoy good cognitive health in retirement

Here are four facts about the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive aging:

  • Behavioural studies suggest that aerobic fitness training improves cognitive functioning in older adults and improves brain health in aging laboratory animals
  • In older humans, higher aerobic fitness levels were associated with better performance on the spatial memory task
  • Higher aerobic fitness levels were associated with the preservation of hippocampal volume (the Hippocampus is a brain structure that is important for learning and memory)
  • Larger hippocampal volume was the most important predictor of better spatial memory functions

So better fitness means better memory and a better ability to find one’s way around.  Hopefully that is a good enough reason to keep up those positive New Year resolutions.
(Always remember that any exercise program should be under the direction of your doctor if you have or suspect any chronic condition.)